XXX Chats

The first to use his name as part of an hereditary surname was his grandson, Sean Fearghal O Ruairc, who died in 964.

Over the following century and a half, four O’Rourkes were Kings of Connacht.

He initially returned to Leinster in 1167 with a small band of Norman knights and was defeated by Ruaidhri Ua Conchobair, Ua Ruairc and Ua Maelseachlainn.

Henry agreed to allow Mac Murchada to recruit mercenary soldiers from amongst his subjects.

He ultimately persuaded Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, known as Strongbow, to assist him, promising the inheritance of Leinster in return.

STRANGE Toirdhealbhach Ua Conchobhair (old spelling: Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair) (1088–1156), anglicised Turlough Mór O’Connor / O’Conor, was King of Connacht (1106–1156) and High King of Ireland (ca. Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair (newer spelling: Ruaidhrí Ua Conchobhair) was King of Connacht from 1156 to 1186, and from 1166 to 1183 was the last High King of Ireland before the Norman invasion (Brian Ua Néill and Edward Bruce both claimed the title with opposition in later years).

Ruaidrí was not a favourite of his father, his brother Conchobair Ua Conchobair being Tairrdelbach’s tánaiste and designated heir.

Despite the fourteen-year gap between Derbforgaill’s abduction and Mac Murchada’s expulsion from Leinster, several sources attribute Ua Ruairc’s role in Mac Murchada’s expulsion to a desire for revenge for the kidknapping of Derbforgaill.

Mac Murchadh fled to the court of Henry II of England in Aquitaine, where he asked Henry for help in regaining his territory in Leinster.Ua Ruairc may have ruled Bréifne as early as 1124, as indicated in Mac Carthaigh’s Book and the Annals of the Four Masters, the former indicating he allied at the time with the kings of Meath and Leinster against Toirdelbach Ua Conchobair.However the Annals of Ulster and the Annals of Tigernach do not mention him until 1128, where they record his robbing and killing of some of the Archbishop of Armagh’s company, the former calling it ‘A detestable and unprecedented deed of evil consequence’.Both Ua Ruairc and Mac Murchadh joined the High King in a raid into Munster in 1151.In 1152, Ua Ruairc’s wife, Derbforgaill, was abducted along with her cattle and material wealth by Mac Murchada, who made a hosting into Ua Ruairc’s territory aided by Toirdelbach Ua Conchobair.He is known for his role in the expulsion of Diarmait Mac Murchada, King of Leinster, from Ireland in 1166.Mac Murchada’s subsequent recruitment of Marcher Lords to assist him in the recovery of his Kingdom of Leinster ultimately led to the Norman Invasion of Ireland.However, the line of descent from the last Chief of the Name, Brian Ballgh O’Rourke, who was inaugurated in 1529 and died in 1562, remains intact.The present holder of the title ‘O Ruairc of Breifne’, recognised as Chief of his Name by the Chief Herald of Ireland is Philip O Rorke, resident in London.After the twelfth century, they appear to have accepted the overlordship of the O’Connors, however reluctantly.They also had persistent problems with the other pre-eminent family of Breifne, the O’Reillys, which ultimately resulted in their territory being much reduced.

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